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Discussion Starter #1
<Sigh> Hippo I am at a loss and so is the dealer (yea I finally broke down and took it in) '99 FLHT, SE 203 cam, rejetted cv carb, Thundercone slip ons, K&N a/c, 30 k miles

dang thing started running rough, slowly over a month period I guess it got worse, finally no top end at all, its like there is a rev limiter at 3k rpm or something. Seems to me and the dealer that the rear jug is not working - or partially working. Bike idles and revs, runs well to 3k rpm then it sputters and misses, no torque at all, forget 5th gear and passing on a hwy!


Found bad Cam Position Sensor - scanalizer - did not change symptoms.

changed the se ignition module and coil back to the stock ones (it is not one on the recall list), no intake leaks found, changed plugs, plug wires, there is exhaust coming out of both pipes so no blockage, adjustable push rods are set correctly, swapped the cv carb, fuel petcock flows well. Scanalyzier shows no faults after new cps installed.
I suggested to service manager that the cams be physically pulled to insure cam to cam timing alignment marks are set correctly since they cannot be seen when cams are installed - he is reluctant to do that - he and all his techs think they are correct.

any thoughts?
 

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I would imagine you guys checked the compression, cold and hot? Just to cover the possibility you might be right that there is one cylinder dropping out.

When I first got the 99 it would start running on one cylinder when getting on it sometimes, after it ran fine for thousands of miles, and it turned out to be that in the three way connector for the coil they had crimped one of the terminals over the insulation of the wire rather then the conductor and it eventually ate the conductor away where it could no longer carry the current at higher rpm. Granted this may be anecdotal, but it gives you an idea of the sort of thing one can find. You never find these sort of things until you actually take all the pins out of the connector housings or they eventually give up completely.

I have seen bikes run into what seems a soft rev limiter at about 3000 rpm, and it has always had something to do with the diaphragm in the carburetor, the diaphragm in the fuel valve, the screen on the fuel valve or the carb float sticking in some way. If you replaced carbs one would think you covered it, but strange **** happens to parts that lay around and get bumped.

The only way the cam timing can get altered is if it was a really early bike with the cams that are keyed and not splined, but it would have other symphtoms. If something were broken or really worn in the cam drive it would make noise and probably show itself in other ways. Some cams have shown major wear on the lobes of the rear cam, but they generally reach a point where they make noise.

Sure sounds like either fuel or ignition, and the only other thing I have seen come up with all sorts of strange symphtoms on carb TC's are the bank angle sensors, but they generally would affect both cylinders equally.

There is also a connector for the sensor harness under the front right frame rail. On some bikes there is a battery voltage wire in one of the positions and occasionally you find one that if the connector has too much resistance there is some sort of interference that confuses the sensor signals. Normally I just move the pins of this wire out of the connector into a separate connector housing. If they replaced the cam sensor they would have taken this connector apart so unless they missed something it is not likely to be the cause.

The BAS and problems in the connector I mentioned generally do not set codes, and problems like the one mentioned at the beginning with the wire usually can not be measured. Keep pounding at the same stuff and eventually you will find it, logic usually wins over farfetched theories, and hopefully this gave you some ideas of stuff to look at. Seems strange that I mentioned the BAS a few times, eh? Maybe it means something.



After re reading this, it might be worth it to remove the crank sensor and see if it has debris sticking to it, and if everything else rechecks fine maybe even temporarily substituting it with a known good one from another bike. If they just are weak, they will not set a code either, most of the time they show starting problems, but in reality you never know.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks I'll pass iton to the dealer techs - they are frustrated just as I am over this one
 

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Rustler, Hippo mentioned the BAS as something to look at. FYI - I have a 2000 FLHT and the BAS was recalled for this year. I don't know if other years/models are involved. In any event, I would suggest that you see if your 99 is included. It may not help your current problem, but might help prevent something from happening "down the road".
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Straydog said:
Rustler, Hippo mentioned the BAS as something to look at. FYI - I have a 2000 FLHT and the BAS was recalled for this year.
thanks I had not heard of that one.

Hippo how about getting together with the powers that be and create a reference section for recalls - there does not seem to be a consolidated one on the web - the nhtsa site is a pain - you have to look up each and every bike model one at a time.
 

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The recall was for the mounting bracket for the BAS, not the sensor itself.

You can contact me offline on the other matter. Contrary to some I use my own time to play on the computer, so there is a limit on how much time I will spend on it. It's a damn vice developed wile my time was being paid for. LOL.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Originally posted by HIPPO
You can contact me offline on the other matter.
Initally I thought off-line ment email - ROFL - your profile says you don't accept email from this board - so I am at a loss - no biggie I spend most of my life in that state anyway. my email is available via the profile if you want to talk about it - or not - your decision, just an idea I had on the spur of the moment.

tech talk - damn bike is still down - now they have a ignition module ordered - I had the Se ignition in it (not a recall part number) and took them the stock ignition and coil, supposedly they replaced the se set up with the stock and no change - so they order another! Me thinks they are lost and just want time to think so they order something they don't have - techs who worked for me in the army used to do that too - check PLL and see what we don't have to fix a radar or computer sys and then order it so they can rest!

Headed for the dealer this a.m. - can't understand why they won't "system check" parts in another bike - one of many things we will talk about. Thanks for your thoughts.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The dealer and the HD tech support line they use has decided that it is not an electrical problem and they are tearing down the rear jug in an exploratory operation (I still lean toward a cam chest problem but who am I)

*IF* I have destroyed a piston and or jug and or head, I figure I will go to the 95" kit which I had planned on doing next year anyway. My questions:

Forged or cast pistons?
Flat top or high comp?

I will do the SE heads since stock heads flow so bad.

Currently bike has cv carb, se203 cam, se ignition (6200 street)

any and all thoughts appreciated with pros and cons

TIA
 

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It's going to be interesting to see what story they ultimately make up. I still think that if the compression reading (and leakdown) was good and the engine made no noises, they are chasing a ghost, unless of course they have information they are not sharing with you.

Definitely flattops, and in that application with a dealer doing the work cast. Might get away with a 203 that way.
Personally I think that ported stock heads are much better then SE, but it looks like you are locked into SE parts. If you had to replace cams, the 211's seem to work nice, but I don't know how you ride.

In any event, let us know the outcome.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
well sh**

rear jugs are good as are pistons, rings, valves, valve springs, cam chest off and all is ok, timing marks on rear of gears are dead on, lobes not worn

damn I would have bet on a cam problem that is what it felt like, they are lost and are calling a HD tech from a factory to come down, still woking on it, changing this and that, but...he won't be here till the 27th!
 

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Sorry to hear of the problems, but I'm not surprised, eventually our original thoughts will be confirmed. Hopefully they will cover all these incorrect diagnostics in some form or shape.
 

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Rustler, saw your message on the e-mail list, but it was the wrong list, even though you may well have posted it on the preacher list and I have not seen it yet. Since there you mention that all the sensors have already been replaced, another thought crossed my mind.

Have you run this thing without the mufflers?

While I have never seen this happen in the bike world, I have in the car world. If a muffler breaks up internally it will cause all sorts of strange symphtoms. Normally I would not even mention it, but since at this point everyone seems to be reaching, why not rule it out, eh?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Originally posted by HIPPO
Have you run this thing without the mufflers?

I had two different brands on it - Bubs and Thunderheaders. but...

Well I got it back late last night - here is what they told me:

"When the cam position sensor went erratic it was causing the coil to spark at the wrong time and as a result the rear cyclinder never had complete combustion. As a result during the exhaust cycle the cyclinder never 'emptied' completely. This built up and caused the cyclinder walls to wash with raw gas. Piston rings replaced, oil changed (slight amount - so they say - of gas in oil), reassembled and they say it works."

Ran ok going home - not able to really wring it out cause of the deer problem we have here at night - today it is supposed to be in the low 70's so I will see.

Not sure I totally believe them - good pressure checks with washed out rings? But they were more than fair on the bill considering how long it took and how much they actually did to it.
 

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I meant removing the right canister AFTER the problem started.


Not sure I totally believe them
We both know the answer to that one. Did you actually see the engine disassembled?

In the end it doesn't matter and hopefully the problem is corrected, even if they don't tell you how it was corrected.
Putting a bike into a dealers shop more often then not is like a hostage situation and having the force option taken away, but if the bike runs right you'll learn to lick your chops and live with it after a while.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
HIPPO said:
Did you actually see the engine disassembled? [/i]
Now thats a laugh - no they are very very protective of their work space (does not give me a warm fuzzy!)

Anyway, it does run run better, but I gave it back to them yesterday and told them to give me a loaner comparable to my flht - got a flhtc as a loaner - still bogs down at high rpms, no guts though now you can creep up to 85, but to think of passing a truck from 70 in a blast of throttle - never happen.

on another note - I forgot how different it is to get on a bike that does not "fit" you - this flhtc is nice but so many things on my ride have been changed to "fit" me (6' 4" 230lbs size 12 boot (heel shifters are a pain)) that a stock bike is uncomfortable - I have now decided that a new bike is just not in the cards (was considering a '03 model) I'll just run this engine till it breaks and get a new one when needed. I now understand why so many long time riders are riding old iron - it fits them. Being military my bikes in the past were used rat bikes I built from junk yard dogs and then sold on transfer. Just dawned on me - even this bike I bought used - too funny.
 

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I know that feeling. I usually do not modify my bikes much other then arranging things around to where I like them, and when I trade them I take everything off (or put it back on) and then duplicate it on the new bike.
When I did this with the 99 to ride it back to the dealer, maybe because I ended up riding it for two days due to the usual delays, I found the thing to be almost unridable.

When you ride someone else's bike the feeling is not that strong, probably because there is no involvement, but you start to realize how much better bikes that have been blueprinted, tuned and maintained feel, even though they are in basically stock form. They may not be much faster or better handling measured objectively, but they make you much faster due to comfort and trust.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Well I got it back - on the way home I took the super slab (rarely do that) bottom of a steep hill doing 70, nailed it, shortly before the top speedo was climbing past the 100 mark - seems to be fixed. Not sure how long the hill climb part of the freeway is (or the slope) I'll measure it when the weather clears just for curiosity sake and let you know so you can give me an idea of good bad or indifferent.

The latest tale from the dealer - rebuilt the carb from the ground up, tweaked it, resealed the intake manifold with the new version of the intake manifold flange/gaskets, rebuilt the carb again - tada......fixed!

FM as we said in the military (***king Magic) - no charge.

While I appreciate the no charge and the courtesy of not charging me an arm and a leg the first time (charged me for three hours labor - five weeks in shop - jug tear down, cam removal [twice], pushrods [twice], sensor changes, ign module and coil [twice], test rides, etc) , I almost would rather pay the toll and get accurate information - somehow I just feel their explanation doesn't cut it. Guess I'll never know for sure.

Thanks for all your thoughts on this one.

Assuming I make a breakout box for the ignition module - will a dvm help me to identify faulty sensors? Not just broke, no output sensors but erratic/faulty - or will I need a self syncing oscilloscope? I assume the output of the crank and cam sensors is a ramping 5vdc signal - true?
 

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resealed the intake manifold with the new version of the intake manifold flange/gaskets

New version intake gaskets must not have been available when they levitated the heads off, eh? LOL



Not sure it is necessary to actually make a break out box. I would guess it to be cheaper just to buy it from the dealer if you wanted one. As far as I know the ECM connectors are only available as part of the EFI harness, but I have not checked in a couple of years.

When dealing with these things there is no such thing as a sure thing. What I'm trying to tell you is that if it checks bad it is bad, but if it checks good it's probably good, but no more.
The more sophisticated the testing method the better the probability.

The Crank and Cam sensors are much different animals. The Crank sensor is checked with the ECM disconnected and generates an ACV signal that on a really good sensor is almost 2VAC, but the minimum spec is only <1 VAC. You also want to make sure the resistance to ground is more the 1MOhm. The Cam sensor is checked with everything connected and powered up as it needs a reference voltage 5V, and the output on a good sensor should be either >1VDC or 6-10VDC depending where the ridge on the cam gear is positioned with a static engine. While cranking you get a square wave of a little under 4 VDC, but as little as 2 VDC is acceptable. You can start to see how all these little tolerances can begin to add up, but they are not nearly as critical with a carb bike then with a EFI one.


I use a good Fluke meter. They have very high capture speed and hi - lo memory. One of the guys I work with sometimes, that has a lot more money then me, invested in an Fluke Scopemeter, and there have been a few occasions where it was possible to see glitches in the waveforms that were not apparent with the meter.
If I would work on this stuff all the time I would link the Scopemeter to a PC and create a waveform database of known good bikes and one of bikes that displayed specific symphtoms, but since no one is paying me I think I'll rather go riding. People in AZ expect you to work for peanuts, LOL.

Funny thing is that the dealers have all these capabilities built into their digital technician system, but most of them don't have the faintest notion on how to fully use them. Same as it has always been, the Gods give bread to those that have no teeth. LOL.
 
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